Nicolaas "Nico" Bloembergen (March 11, 1920 – September 5, 2017) was a Dutch-American physicist and Nobel laureate, recognized for his work in developing driving principles behind nonlinear optics for laser spectroscopy. During his career, he was a professor at Harvard University and later at the University of Arizona and at Leiden University in 1973 (as Lorentz Professor).
Bloembergen in 1981
|Died||September 5, 2017 (aged 97)|
|Alma mater||Leiden University|
University of Utrecht
|Known for||Laser spectroscopy|
Atomic line filter
Huberta Deliana Brink
|Awards||Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1958)|
Stuart Ballantine Medal (1961)
National Medal of Science (1974)
Lorentz Medal (1978)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1981)
IEEE Medal of Honor (1983)
Dirac Medal (1983)
|Institutions||University of Arizona|
|Doctoral advisor||Cornelis Jacobus Gorter|
|Other academic advisors||Edward Purcell|
|Doctoral students||Peter Pershan|
Bloembergen was born in Dordrecht on March 11, 1920, where his father was a chemical engineer and executive. He had five siblings, with his brother Auke later becoming a legal scholar. In 1938, Bloembergen entered the University of Utrecht to study physics. However, during World War II, the German authorities closed the university and Bloembergen spent two years in hiding.
Bloembergen left the war-ravaged Netherlands in 1945 to pursue graduate studies at Harvard University under Professor Edward Mills Purcell. Through Purcell, Bloembergen was part of the prolific academic lineage tree of J. J. Thomson, which includes many other Nobel Laureates, beginning with Thomson himself (Physics Nobel, 1906) and Lord Rayleigh (Physics Nobel, 1904), Ernest Rutherford (Chemistry Nobel 1908), Owen Richardson (Physics Nobel, 1928), and finally Purcell (Physics, Nobel 1952). Bloembergen's other influences include John Van Vleck (Physics Nobel, 1977) and Percy Bridgman (Physics Nobel, 1946).
Six weeks before his arrival, Purcell and his graduate students Torrey and Pound discovered nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Bloembergen was hired to develop the first NMR machine. At Harvard he attended lectures by Schwinger, Van Vleck, and Kemble. Bloembergen's NMR systems are the predecessors of modern-day MRI machines, which are used to examine internal organs and tissues. Bloembergen's research on NMR led to an interest in masers, which were introduced in 1953 and are the predecessors of lasers.
Bloembergen returned to the Netherlands in 1947, and submitted his thesis Nuclear Magnetic Relaxation at the University of Leiden. This was because he had completed all the preliminary examinations in the Netherlands, and Cor Gorter of Leiden offered him a postdoctoral appointment there. He received his Ph.D. degree from Leiden in 1948, and then was a postdoc at Leiden for about a year.
In 1949, he returned to Harvard as a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows. In 1951, he became an associate professor; he then became Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics in 1957; Rumford Professor of Physics in 1974; and Gerhard Gade University Professor in 1980. In 1990 he retired from Harvard.
In addition, Bloembergen served as a visiting professor. From 1964 to 1965, Bloembergen was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1996–1997, he was a visiting scientist at the College of Optical Sciences of the University of Arizona; he became a professor at Arizona in 2001.
By 1960 while at Harvard, he experimented with microwave spectroscopy. Bloembergen had modified the maser of Charles Townes, and in 1956, Bloembergen developed a crystal maser, which was more powerful than the standard gaseous version.
With the advent of the laser, he participated in the development of the field of laser spectroscopy, which allows precise observations of atomic structure using lasers. Following the development of second-harmonic generation by Peter Franken and others in 1961, Bloembergen expanded on the study of the theoretical study of nonlinear optics, the analysis of how photons in high-intensity electromagnetic radiation interact with matter. In reflection to his work in a Dutch newspaper in 1990, Bloembergen said: "We took a standard textbook on optics and for each section we asked ourselves what would happen if the intensity was to become very high. We were almost certain that we were bound to encounter an entirely new type of physics within that domain".
From this theoretical work, Bloembergen found ways to combine two or more laser sources consisting of photons in the visible light frequency range to generate a single laser source with photons of different frequencies in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges, which extends the amount of atomic detail that can be gathered from laser spectroscopy.
Bloembergen shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Arthur Schawlow, along with Kai Siegbahn. The Nobel Foundation awarded Bloembergen and Schawlow "for their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy".
Personal life and deathEdit
Bloembergen met Huberta Deliana Brink (Deli) in 1948 while on vacation with his school's Physics Club. She was able to travel with Bloembergen to the United States in 1949 on a student hospitality exchange program; he proposed to her when they arrived in the States, and were married by 1950 on return to Amsterdam. They were both naturalized as citizens of the United States in 1958. They had three children.
On the 11th March 2020, the day of Bloembergen’s 100th birthday, a team of researchers at the University of New South Wales published an article in Nature, demonstrating for the first time the successful coherent control of the nucleus of a single atom using only electric fields, an idea first proposed by Bloembergen back in 1961.
- Corresponding member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, 1956
- Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1955 
- Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1956
- Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., 1960
- Foreign Honorary Member, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, 1978
- Associé Étranger, Académie des Sciences, Paris, 1981
- Guggenheim Fellow, 1957
- Oliver Buckley Prize, American Physical Society, 1958
- IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, Institute of Radio Engineers, 1959
- Stuart Ballantine Medal, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, 1961
- National Medal of Science, President of the United States of America, 1974
- Lorentz Medal, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, 1978
- Frederic Ives Medal, Optical Society of America, 1979
- Von Humboldt Senior Scientist, 1980
- Member, German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, 1983
- Member Emeritus, United States National Academy of Engineering, 1984
- "Nobelprijswinnaar Nicolaas Bloembergen (97) overleden". Universiteit Leiden. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- Nobel Foundation Nicolaas Bloembergen Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Rob Herber. "Nico Bloembergen, fysicus in licht" (PDF) (in Dutch). Historische Kring De Bilt. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Edward Mills Purcell". NAP.edu. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". Académie des Sciences. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- David L. Hubber. "John Van Vleck: Quantum Theory and Magnetism". APS.org. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". Utrecht University. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". Mediatheque. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- Nicolaas Bloembergen; Edward Mills Purcell; Robert V. Pound (1948). "Relaxation effects in nuclear magnetic resonance absorption" (PDF). Physical Review. 73 (7): 679. Bibcode:1948PhRv...73..679B. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.73.679. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-06-24.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- OSC Faculty Nicolaas Bloembergen Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine
- World Scientific. Journal of Nonlinear Optical Physics & Materials. Journal Editorial Board.
- "Today in Engineering History: The Laser Is Patented". PDDNet. March 22, 2016. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- "Bijvoet Medal". Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research. Archived from the original on 2017-09-12. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1981". The Nobel Foundation. 1981. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- Bloembergen, Nicolaas (1981). "Nicolaas Bloembergen – Biographical". The Nobel Foundation. Archived from the original on 2017-12-12.
- http://www.nasonline.org, National Academy of Sciences -. "Nicolaas Bloembergen". www.nasonline.org. Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- Weil, Martin (9 September 2017). "Nicolaas Bloembergen, winner of Nobel Prize in physics, dies at 97". Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018 – via www.washingtonpost.com.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen, Who Shared Nobel for Advances With Laser Light, Dies at 97". 11 September 2017. Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
- Herber, Rob (2016). Nico Bloembergen. Meester van het licht. Delft, The Netherlands: Eburon. ISBN 978-90-5972-815-8.
- Herber, Rob (2019). Nico Bloembergen. Master of Light. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-25736-1.
- Asaad, Serwan; Mourik, Vincent; Joecker, Benjamin; Johnson, Mark A. I.; Baczewski, Andrew D.; Firgau, Hannes R.; Mądzik, Mateusz T.; Schmitt, Vivien; Pla, Jarryd J.; Hudson, Fay E.; Itoh, Kohei M. (March 2020). "Coherent electrical control of a single high-spin nucleus in silicon". Nature. 579 (7798): 205–209. arXiv:1906.01086. Bibcode:2020Natur.579..205A. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2057-7. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 32161384. S2CID 174797899.
- Science, American Association for the Advancement of (1961-04-28). "National Academy of Sciences: Abstracts of Papers Presented at the Annual Meeting, 24-26 April 1961, Washington, D.C." Science. 133 (3461): 1363–1370. Bibcode:1961Sci...133.1363.. doi:10.1126/science.133.3461.1363. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17744956.
- Seeker. "How an Accident Sparked a Quantum Computing Breakthrough". Seeker. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
- Yadav, Rohit (2020-04-10). "This Accidently [sic] Solved Puzzle Can Help Make Powerful Quantum Computers". Analytics India Magazine. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
- "Nico Bloembergen". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015.
- "APS Fellow archive". APS. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
- "Professor Nicolaas Bloembergen". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 18 June 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Bloembergen, Prof. Nicolaas". Indian Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". Guggenheim Foundation. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "1958 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize Recipient". American Physical Society. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details Nicolaas Bloembergen". National Science Foundation. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Laureates Lorentz Medal". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "List of Members". www.leopoldina.org. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
- "Dr. Nicolaas Bloembergen". United States National Academy of Engineering. Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nicolaas Bloembergen.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Nicolaas Bloembergen|
- Nicolaas Bloembergen on Nobelprize.org including the Nobel Lecture, December 8, 1981 Nonlinear Optics and Spectroscopy
- Freeview video 'An Interview with Nicolaas Bloembergen' by the Vega Science Trust
- their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy
- Oral History interview transcript with Nicolaas Bloembergen 27 June 1983, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives